Hello everyone! Today I’m presenting to you a fun recipe, these cinnamon bun sandwich cookies! Maybe you’re wondering where I got the idea for these cookies. Well, it actually came from Trader Joe’s. A few weeks ago, I made a trip down to see what they had for their fall treats. Their fall foods are my absolute favorite! So festive, so fun!
While I was in there, I saw these Cinnamon Bun Cookies and couldn’t resist. If you follow me on Instagram, you guys know I’m a huge fan of cinnamon and cinnamon rolls. I make them pretty frequently, and I’m obsessed with cinnamon. Basically, I’m a sucker for anything cinnamon roll/cinnamon bun flavored and I’ll probably never stop. So yes, I picked up a package of these Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Cookies and had some high hopes.
Here’s the thing about Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I think their stuff is delicious and totally worth the hype. Other times like this? Ho hum! Listen, these cookies had really good flavor. But where is the filling? And why are they crooked? (ha!) I’m not mad, I just wanted something a little different, I guess. I decided right then and there that I was going to make this cookie, but with every expectation that I had that the Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Cookies didn’t fulfill.
I mean these cookies were good. But they could be so much better! So I set off on my quest to make a better knockoff of these Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Cookies. First, I started by browning some butter. I wanted to cram as much flavor into every ounce of these cookies, and I knew that was the place to start. If you need help learning how to brown butter, check out my Instagram highlight. It might seem intimidating but it’s really a piece of cake.
Light brown sugar vs dark brown sugar?
Next, I used dark brown sugar. I mean, you can use light brown sugar but dark brown adds so much flavor and really gave the cookies the dark color I was going after. Dark brown sugar also adds a ton of deep, caramel-y flavor to whatever you’re baking. It’s perfect in these bakes where a lot of spices are used.
The only spice I used in these cookies was cinnamon. And I added a ton! So no, the amount I’ve written in the recipe isn’t a typo. You’ll want a lot of flavor in there!
For the filling, I went with my usual cream cheese cookie filling because I love it so much. It’s incredibly easy to whip up, and reliable as ever. It helps to soften the cinnamon bun sandwich cookies and keep them soft. I mean, the Trader Joe’s version didn’t even really have a filling. Where is it?! I needed a substantial amount of filling and I needed it to be good.
Letting the dough rest before its baked
One of the most important steps to this recipe is to let the dough sit before you bake it. The primary reason for this is to let the flour absorb the butter and eggs. If you bake the cookies before you let the dough rest, your cookies will be inconsistent shapes. But if you let the dough rest, the dough will stiffen up, set, and you’ll have more consistent cookies. Please don’t skip this step, even though you’ll probably want to get the cookies in the oven. Have a little patience because it’s well worth it!
Another important note: don’t overbake the cookies! They only need about 8 minutes in the oven. If they still look a little soft, let them sit on the cookie sheet after you take them out to help them set up a little. But you don’t want to overcook these babies.
After you have frosted the cookies, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or on the counter. Let them set a few hours before you eat them to help the frosting soften up the cookies.
I hope you love these cinnamon bun sandwich cookies as much as I do. And I hope it saves you a trip to Trader Joe’s!
Cinnamon Bun Sandwich Cookies
Skip the lines at Trader Joe's and make this version at home in a jiffy! They're full of flavor and sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Add the butter to a small, light-colored saucepan. Melt the butter over medium-high heat, and stirring occasionally, stir until the butter is browned and smells nutty. Remove from heat and pour into a small heat-proof bowl. Allow to cool while you assemble the other ingredients.
Add granulated sugar and dark brown sugar to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then set aside.
Pour the cooled browned butter into the bowl with the sugars, then whisk to combine. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla then whisk together until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
Add dry ingredients and stir softly with a spatula until just combined and no flour remains. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes (don't skip this step!).
In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into half-tablespoon sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake 8 minutes. Cookies will look soft and puffy. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving them to a cooling rack (this will let them set).
For the frosting:
In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), cream together all filling ingredients for several minutes, scraping down the sides as you go. Let the filling whip on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Pair two cookies together that are the same size, and spread the frosting in the middle. These are best eaten after a couple of hours of setting and and up to two days afterward. Enjoy!